Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peruvian/Korean cuisine?!

The first time that I ate quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) I was studying abroad in Cusco, Peru. It is a traditional, native grain of the Andean people. They pretty much eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I can’t say that I blame them. Quinoa is not only delicious, but it is certainly one of the most nutritious whole grains that I have come across. The thing that makes it so unique is that it has all eight essential amino acids, so it is a great source of complete protein. It is necessary to pair most grains with beans in order to get complete vegetarian protein. Quinoa also has 6 grams of protein per serving, which is pretty good considering it is a humble grain.

(The mighty grain, up close and personal)

The thing that I really like about quinoa is its versatility. I have enjoyed it for breakfast, slightly sweetened with maple syrup, fresh or dried fruit, and nuts. I often make it for dinner and serve it with daal (Indian lentils) or other beans. It can also be sprouted if you are into raw food cuisine. Today it’s for lunch, and I am trying something new. I did an 11-mile training run this morning in the POURING rain. It was wet and cold, but the whole while I was dreaming about lunch and what I was going to make. I decided a variation on bibimbap, a Korean staple food. They usually make it with rice, but today I am doing it quinoa style. I made the quinoa, I sautéed some onions, greens, and mushrooms in a little soy sauce and brown rice vinegar and topped it all off with a poached egg. One thing that cannot be forgotten in bibimbap is kimchi, (thanks honey for going to the store to get it) and a little Sriracha. Okay, my stomach is growling. Time to eat. How do you like your quinoa?

(Oh kale, how I love thee)
(sauté it up!)
(When I was little, my dad use to bring home bags of Kimchi from Korea in his backpack. Then he would smell like fermented cabbage and garlic for weeks! Back then, I was like "gross, Dad!" like most teenagers would say. Now, I LOVE kimchi. It is spicy, garlicy, and tangy.)
(This is what she looks like all cooked up. Aren't the little spiraly things awesome!)
(The final was DELICIOUS!)


  1. The artistry!

    Looks pretty delicious.

  2. That looks wonderful. We love quinoa ourselves, especially red quinoa.

    One recipe with it we've gotten a lot of mileage out of lately has been quinoa-corn chowder.

    Found a wonderful kimchi at the farmer's market a few weeks back: Firefly Kitchens Kimchi. Really wonderful stuff. They are selling at Ballard and West Seattle Farmer's Markets right now.